How To Quit a Job in France in a Right Way

According to a report by the World Bank, an average person in France holds about eight jobs within a lifetime, and most transitions are out of voluntary termination. When terminating your employment in France, it’s essential to follow specific procedures to get excellent recommendations that help you grow in your career.

To resign from your employment in France, start by going through your employment contract to determine the terms of ending the contract. Additionally, meet with an HR representative and write a resignation letter. Finally, adhere to the required notice period, finish any pending projects, and request an employment certificate from your employer.

This article discusses how you can quit your job in France correctly. It looks into the process you should follow to terminate your employment and the notice period you should give your employer depending on your contract. It also discusses the process of coming up with a resignation letter and offers a format you can use to write one.

How to terminate employment in France

In France, employment can be terminated at any time by the employee, employer, or mutual agreement between the parties. Regardless of the case, the employee should give the employer a notice period as indicated in the employment contract.

In France, it’s easy to terminate employment since all you need is to notify your employer of your intention to quit. Your resignation is only valid after your employer receives your termination notice verbally or in writing.

The French law doesn’t impose a particular procedure for quitting your job, but you can terminate it professionally and respectfully by following the steps below:

Step 1: Check your employment contract

An employment contract is an agreement between an employee and employer which indicates the terms and conditions of employment and its termination.

Go through this contract and check for any requirements you should meet before resigning; failure to meet them can lead to hefty fines and negative reviews from your employer.

The content of the employment contract varies based on the company, but most of them constitute the following:

  • Employer’s contact details
  • Date and time of hire
  • Type of the contract
  • Length of paid leave
  • Employee’s responsibilities within the company
  • The function that the employee will occupy
  • The legal relationship between the employee and employer
  • Employee’s qualifications
  • Amount of remuneration
  • Notice period

Step 2: Meet with an HR representative 

As you go through your employment contract, you may meet clauses that are hard to understand. The HR representatives are usually familiar with the employment laws; therefore, they will explain everything you need to fulfill before resigning, saving you reputation damages and penalties.

Step 3: Notify your employer of your resignation

As an employee in France, you need to notify your employer of your intentions to quit. There is no standard procedure for doing this; you can do it orally or through a resignation letter. Most employees choose to use letters as they are more professional, and they help one keep a record of the resignation.

Step 4: Adhere to the required notice period

Before resigning from your job, it’s essential to adhere to the notice period indicated in your employment contract. In France, this period begins once you’ve notified your employer of your plans to depart from the company.  

Step 5: Finalize any unfinished projects

When quitting your job, you may have some projects you are currently working on. Ensure you discuss with your employer how you can complete the tasks; you can do them yourself or delegate them to your colleagues.

Step 6: Check if you qualify for any unemployment benefits

In France, you are eligible for unemployment benefits if you’ve been:

  • In employment for at least six months within the last 24 months 
  • Actively seeking a job or undergoing training
  • Involuntarily terminated as a result of an end of a fixed-term contract
  • Experiencing physically challenges that don’t enable you to work 

Step 7: Request for a certificate of employment

It’s important to request your employer for a certificate of employment orally or through email. This certificate is essential, especially when applying for a job in another company.

The certificate indicates the following details: 

  • The period you’ve been working with the company
  • Your skills and competences 
  • Activities you were carrying out
  • Your position within the company
  • The date the certification was issued
  • Your personal details such as name and date of birth

Termination of employment by mutual agreement

In France, you can terminate your permanent contract by having a mutual agreement with the employer. This form of employment termination is perfect if you plan to return to the company after some time because it preserves your relationship with the employer.

Termination by mutual agreement requires the following:

  • An interview with your employer to discuss terms of termination
  • A withdrawal period of 15 working days
  • An agreement with your employer regarding your notice period and the amount of compensation that the company will offer you

On terminating your job, request your employer to provide you with the following documents:

  • A work certificate
  • Employment center certificate
  • Documented summary of the account balance
  • Your savings plans statements within the company

Notice period in France 

In France, the notice period varies depending on the following contracts:

Fixed-term contracts

Fixed-term contracts last for a specific period, and they end automatically after the time agreed between the employee and employer has expired. A fixed-term contract doesn’t have a notice period; you or your employer can terminate it anytime without announcement.

Permanent contracts

Your notice period is indicated in the employment contract when in a permanent contract. If the contract doesn’t show a specific period, the following notice periods apply:

Length of employment Notice period
Less than 6 monthsFixed by the collective agreement, the collective agreement or the employment contract.
6-24 months1 month
Over 2 years2 months
Three month’s notice applies if you’ve been serving in an executive-level role such as a manager

At the same time, the employee can quit without giving notice in the following cases:

  • Resignation during pregnancy or to raise a child
  • Resignation at the end of a leave for business creation*

*In France, employees have a right to take a leave or switch to part-time employment to start their own business.

Notice period during the probation period

The probation period is the time at the beginning of an employment contract when an employer tests the employee’s skills before officially offering them employment. In France, the probation period varies depending on the company, but most companies set it between one and twelve months.

During the probation period, you need to give your employer a notice period of 48 hours and 24 hours if you’ve been working for less than seven days. After the probation period, the French employment law requires you to adhere to the standard notice periods or those indicated in your employment contract. 

How to write a resignation letter in France 

Most companies in France don’t require you to submit a resignation letter, but it’s important to write one as it shows professionalism and courtesy. Additionally, this letter provides evidence that you have given a resignation notice which protects you in case of issues with processing your final paycheck. 

Guidelines to follow when writing a resignation letter

In France, no specific rules govern how to write a resignation letter. However, it would help to stick to the following guidelines:

  • Make the letter simple and straight to the point
  • Ensure that it’s not more than one page
  • Don’t give the reason for your departure; unless required to do so according to the employment contract
  • Regardless of your experience at the company, stay positive; if you have any complaints, schedule a meeting with HR or your employer

Your resignation letter should include the following: 

  • The company’s address
  • Your name and address
  • Length of the notice period
  • Your signature
  • Date of submitting the letter

Example of a resignation letter outline in France

Start of the letter

  • (Your Name)
  • (Address)
  • (Town)
  • (Name of employer)
  • (Address)
  • (Town)

Subject: Resignation

(Dear), (Name of employer)

I am writing to inform you of my resignation from my function as (Position held) exercised since (Date of start of the contract) within the organization.

I have noted that the terms of (My employment contract) provide a notice period of [Duration of notice] which I intend to respect.

On my last day of work in the company, I request you to kindly send me a receipt for a work certificate, settlement of any account, and an employment certificate.

[Date]

[Signature]

[Your Name]

After writing your resignation letter, share it with your employer, supervisor, and HR representatives. You can do this by sending it as an email or printing it out and delivering it in person. 

The law doesn’t require employers to respond to your resignation letter, but most choose to do so through email or word of mouth.

Anna

Anna is an experienced expat and writer. She has been living abroad for over 6 years.

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